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The Grouch – 16/12/10

36,000 new airport jobs, Granada's 14 acre hole, Council’s FoI performance, Manchester Central under scrutiny

Published on December 17th 2010.


The Grouch – 16/12/10

So ITV Granada has finally confirmed what everyone sort of knew would happen anyway – it’s moving to Peel’s MediaCity on Salford Quays.

Technically, it’s Trafford of course, but the spot next to the Imperial War Museum North is part of the wider MediaCity site.

The ITV staff will be on the Salford side, with the Corrie set a short trip over the new footbridge in Trafford – a massive boost for both councils and a right royal pain in the arse for Manchester, which has now lost both ITV and the BBC to Peel.

But it also leaves the issue of another large development site in the city centre at a time when developers just aren’t developing, because banks still aren’t lending.

The Granada site is big – around 14 acres – and so is the BBC building on Oxford Road, which is in the latter stages of collating offers from developers keen to take on the 1million sq ft footprint it will leave when the incumbent 800 staff leave for the glass and steel of Salford Quays.

Manchester City Council and MIDAS will play the ‘Greater Manchester family’ card of course, and will argue that it’s irrelevant which borough it’s in, as it benefits the whole region. Ultimately, they’re right, but Sir Howard will be looking uneasily at the vacant plots on his own doorstep too.

**

Sticking with the city council, and interesting report from its Overview and Scrutiny Governance Sub Group last week tackled the issue of Freedom of Information requests.

The report revealed that in 2010, the council will have received 1,079 FOI requests, slightly down on the 1,306 that were lodged in 2009.

Individuals were responsible for the most requests (52 per cent) followed by the press (16 per cent) although perhaps surprisingly, three per cent of requests came from their own staff.

Of those requests, 66 per cent were responded to within 20 days – the length of time laid down by law – 23 per cent were fulfilled in 21-40 days and 11 per cent took more than 40 days to answer – over 100 requests based on the figures. There were also 179 lapsed requests.

FoI requests are a useful democratic tool. The council said the annual rise in the number of requests was ‘putting a strain on response times’ with current resources – so one can only wonder what will happen when jobs start to go.

Manchester’s new ‘Airport City’ will create 36,000 jobs for the area, according to a new report from the city council. The concept is based on similar projects at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport, Copenhagen and Barcelona ‘although no single one will be used as the definitive model for Manchester's version.’

The report said core airport activities, including the terminals, runways and retail ‘will grow with additional cargo, hotel and logistics facilities as well as retail, conferencing, commercial and leisure developments.’ ‘These plans are in the very early stages but will provide a number of regeneration opportunities for Wythenshawe,’ it said. The proposal will be shown off at MIPIM next year.

Grouch loves number crunching. He reckons 40k jobs would have nicely rounded the figure off and sounded better - or maybe even 50k.

**

Will Event City, Peel’s new exhibition centre near the Trafford Centre, have any impact on Manchester Central? Insiders claim Peel’s cheaper pricing policy will cut into Manchester Central’s business, and we may find out some more in a report scheduled for January 13. According to a note in a recent council paper, the report will’ look at the business model for Manchester Central and how their operation has developed’ and will include ‘financial information on the return from ‘Manchester Central to the council and to the city’s economy. ‘ Worth looking out for.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A TWEED THREE-PIECE

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PoorlySketchedChapDecember 17th 2010.

1m square foot? I'm sure someone could fill such a gargantuan hole #SubEditorFail

Jonathan Schofield - editorDecember 17th 2010.

We've removed a story here about a dirty karaoke venue. We removed it because the story came from the Health and Safety Executive. They got the info wrong and had accused people incorrectly. Maybe they should do a risk assessment on all their communications.

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